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Hon­estly, I didn’t think it could get worse than last year.There was no pos­sible way the NFL could do worse than hiring  “Maroon 5” to headline last year’s Super Bowl show. 

I was wrong. 

At first, the decision didn’t seem prob­lematic. Columbian pop star Shakira, and superstar Jen­nifer Lopez had the makings of an incredible night of music. Both have some of the biggest hits of the 2000s, Shakira with “Hips Don’t Lie” and “Wherever, Whenever” and J‑LO with “Let’s Get Loud” and “On the Floor.” 

Both are also tal­ented dancers and vocalists— and that talent was on display Sunday night.

Upon watching her per­for­mance, there can be no doubt that J‑LO was born to perform. Her stage-presence was spec­tacular, her vocals superb. She owned every bit of that stage.

The talent, however, was not the focal point. Instead of cap­i­tal­izing on their talents, J‑LO and Shakira exploited their sex appeal. To Shakira’s credit, her cos­tumes were not nearly as bad as her coun­ter­parts. But her choice of dance moves negate any points she gets for costume choice. 

Simply put, J‑LO and Shakira’s per­for­mance crossed a line. 

Fans of Sunday’s show could argue that most other Super Bowl halftime per­for­mances head­lined by women involved less than modest clothing. And they would not be wrong.There is, however, a dis­tinct dif­ference between those per­for­mances and J‑LO; those artists were not dancing on a stripper pole or sug­ges­tively writhing around on the stage. The smaller cos­tumes merely allowed for easier movement and quicker costume changes. Those pre­vious halftime shows focused on vocal talent and enter­tainment prowess. When Madonna per­formed in 2012, her show had all the trap­pings of a Super Bowl halftime show, sexy cos­tuming and provocative dancing included. But, there’s a major dif­ference between a few standard Madonna dance moves and J‑LO hanging off a stripper pole wearing a small rhine­stone diaper.

As soon as the show ended, the internet blew up with claims of “empow­erment” and “female beauty.” Those claims, however, miss the mark entirely. The per­for­mance was not empow­ering nor was it beau­tiful. It instead show­cased the degra­dation of women by the modern fem­inist movement. 

J‑LO and Shakira were not a cel­e­bration of women as human beings. They did not cel­e­brate talent. They did not cel­e­brate authentic beauty. They instead sold women the idea that their raw, authentic selves are not enough. That their talent, their musical prowess, their accom­plish­ments, their brains cannot stand alone. 

In the modern fem­inist world, those incredible achieve­ments must be masked by a woman’s sexual allure, and she is not only free to cap­i­talize on it but  also must in order to stay rel­evant.